OAKLAND — After being relegated to designated hitter for two games due to a sore right shoulder, Eric Chavez was out of the A's lineup completely Friday night against the Giants.

That's an obvious sign Chavez's shoulder is getting worse, not better, since the team first revealed Tuesday that he was experiencing pain. He had surgery on the shoulder to repair a torn labrum during the offseason, as well as surgery on his left shoulder and lower back.

It was the slow recovery of his back that kept Chavez on the disabled list until May 29. He's hit .259 with two homers and 12 RBI in 21 games since then, but now the focus is on his shoulder.

"His shoulder is a little bit sore," A's manager Bob Geren said. "We're going to try to get it feeling back to 100 percent, so he's day to day. It just didn't feel right swinging."

The A's have been cautious with Chavez since his return, giving him the occasional day off or start at DH.

Geren said the earliest Chavez might return is Sunday or Monday, when the A's open a seven-game road trip against the Los Angeles Angels.

The news seems a bit brighter regarding outfielder Ryan Sweeney, whose X-rays on his sprained left ankle showed no significant damage.

His plan is to try hitting Sunday with the hope of playing Monday.

Calero released

Reliever Kiko Calero was granted his release Friday after the A's tried unsuccessfully to persuade him to accept a minor league assignment. Calero was designated for assignment June 19, and he had enough major league service time to reject an assignment to the minors if he chose.

Calero came to the A's in the December 2004 trade that sent Mark Mulder to the St. Louis Cardinals, and became an integral part of the bullpen. He led the pitching staff with 70 appearances in 2006.

Calero was hindered last season by a shoulder injury that eventually was diagnosed as a torn rotator cuff. He chose to rehab without surgery and returned to the A's big league roster May 30.

"Certainly with a guy like Kiko, he was so important to this team in 2006, he was just a good person to have around," assistant general manager David Forst said.

Closing the deal?

The A's continue to be viewed as the front runner for the services of Michael Inoa, the 16-year-old pitching phenom from the Dominican Republic.

General manager Billy Beane may be headed to the Dominican in the coming days to try finalizing a deal. Inoa is eligible to sign with a major league team beginning Wednesday.

"I think we did a really good job, we've been aggressive," Forst said. "Billy has been on this since Day 1. We made sure we built a relationship with the agent (Adam Katz) and with the family. I think the nice thing is, we've gone about it the right way."

According to published reports, the A's are ready to offer a signing bonus in the range of $4 million-$4.5 million for Inoa, which would easily be the most money any major league team has paid to sign a player out of Latin America.

"Without commenting on the numbers specifically, I will say we are competitive," Forst said. "We feel good about that."

Short hops

The A's had four minor leaguers chosen to play in the Futures Game, to take place July 13 at Yankee Stadium leading into the All-Star Game. Pitchers Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson and shortstop Cliff Pennington will play for the U.S., while pitcher Henry Rodriguez will be on the international roster. Anderson struck out 12 and walked none in his first start Thursday after being promoted to Double-A Midland. "... Reliever Joey Devine (right elbow) threw off the mound Friday and could pitch in a simulated game during the A's series in Chicago this week.

— Joe Stiglich